John Gerretsen: giving back

Introducing the candidates for Kingston and the Islands

Gerretsen says health care is Kingston’s number-one issue.
Gerretsen says health care is Kingston’s number-one issue.

Incumbent Liberal John Gerretsen is in politics because of life lessons learned from his parents.

“I’ve always been taught by my parents to give back to my community,” he said. “The Kingston community is one of the best in the country and in the province.”

A lawyer by profession, Gerretsen said he has been involved in politics off and on for the last 35 years. A Kingston councillor in the 1970s, he served as mayor from 1980-88 and sat on the Queen’s board of trustees from 1982-91.

Gerretsen said he’s running as MPP for Kingston and the Islands to represent those who may not be able to have their needs represented.

“Government should be about helping vulnerable people who can’t represent themselves,” he said.

If elected, Gerretsen said his main goals are to enhance the quality of health care in Kingston and make post-secondary education more accessible for everyone.

“I want to make sure the hospital projects are continued and that they have enough operating money to operate on, and to ensure the medical health complex will be enhanced from where it is today,” he said.

“From students’ viewpoint, [I want] to continue to try to get as many students as possible in education programs through universities, colleges and apprenticeship programs so that they can reach to the maximum of their potential.”

Gerretsen said the number one issue facing Kingston today is making sound health care available to all residents. “We need to get a complete financial handle on all of our health care issues,” he said. “Finding family doctors, making sure the infrastructure is sound, making sure people who need support get things like community care.”

In addition, Gerretsen said he’s committed to making the burden of student debt lighter.

“We want to make sure we work with the federal government to make sure that the repayment [period] of student loans is lengthened, that student loans don’t become payable as quickly as they do. We also want to see the payment terms lengthened out so it’s not going to be a burden on individuals that are just starting in the workforce.”

The number one issue facing Ontario is the ever-widening financial gap, Gerretsen said.

“The salary levels are too low. We have to give greater supports to people living on pensions. And yet the people at the top of end of the scale, their salaries seem to be escalating at a large rate,” he said. “Eventually, you will have a societal problem.”

Gerretsen said he can sum up his campaign platform in three main points.

“Good public health care, good publicly funded education and building strong communities.”

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